My First Big Ride

I usually consider myself a bubbly extrovert, but on Saturday morning it was a different story.

I anxiously strapped on my gear, including running tights under cycling shorts, running arm warmers with my cycling jersey, fingerless riding gloves, and of course, Chicago marathon jacket and Marc Jacobs sunglasses. I was fully aware that I still looked like a complete newbie/idiot, poorly equipped with the appropriate cycling gear, but it was what it was.

I arrived to the group ride and quickly noticed that my coach’s group of athletes (all of whom I’ve never met or even talked to) were fairly, how do you say, experienced. Their Ironman gear was a dead giveaway and immediately kicked my “oh crap” spidey-senses in full gear. What was I doing here?!

My coach soon found me and gave me a few group cycling pointers. He also introduced me to another woman who was riding easy that day and could take me under her wing. After I nervously jabbered on for a few moments and explained how this was my first big ride, she asked me what I was training for. This was the first time thus far that I can honestly say I was embarrassed to boast that goal that I’m normally so proud of.

“Oh, Ironman,” I muttered.

“Really? What one?” she curiously asked.


“Oh, well you have time,” she assured me.

I don’t know what took over me. Here I was, obviously talking to a very experienced triathlete and I was regretting the words that came out of my mouth. What was happening to me? She was being totally nice, but there I was being gut-wrenching embarrassed. I’m NEVER one to be ashamed of my decisions! But there was nothing more that I could do other than say, “Well, let me know if you see me do something that’s bad because I really don’t feel like dying today.”

Within moments, the group was off for a 40+ mile ride through Calaveras Road in Sunol, California. At that moment, I was faced with two decisions: keep whining like a babbling baby, or man up, clip in and just ride already. It’s safe to say that I chose the latter and through the ride, something crazy happened…

I loved cycling.

I stayed in the back of the pack, just getting use to the bike and the road, and I really do need cycling glasses and gloves that cover my fingers (they almost went numb),  but I couldn’t help but to have a ridiculous smile smeared across my face.


I didn’t take any photos along the way (bad blogger!), but here’s one I found off the ride. You can see a version of the route here.

You see, I love running because of the places it can take you using your own body. But cycling is just that, but with the ability to explore even more! It doesn’t hurt that Calaveras Road was stunning with some good climbing in the middle of the ride, but clipping in became easier, shifting became unproblematic, and simply put, I was proud of myself.

I was proud that I didn’t eat it.

I was proud that I was about to ride two hours and fifteen minutes on my first ride.

I was proud that I faced my fears.

With that, I’m already looking forward to my next ride and growing my cycling skills.

Have you ever been so afraid of something it changed who you were? How did you face it? How did it go?

Happy Running!

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19 Responses to My First Big Ride

  1. Beth says:

    I knew you would be great! Every pair of sports sunglasses I’ve ever owned have cost under $20 and been from Target, and usually has great deals on cycling gloves. I wanted to ask you all about training yesterday, but I was too busy breathing :) Looking forward to continuing to follow your adventure.

  2. Meggie says:

    Marc Jacobs sunglasses are appropriate cycling gear.

    Running was a new thing for me and I was completely afraid of it at the time. Races? What? Those were for real runners. Running club? Again, real runners.

    My, how things change. Oh yeah – question – SF marathon – good for a PR/BQ attempt or no?

  3. Congrats on the first big ride! Just remember how you felt when you started tackling those first long runs…now 16 or 20 miles feels like nothing, right?

    Please tell Meggie that SF would be an awesome BQ/PR course because I promised I would pace her to it!

  4. Whoooo! Good for you! I think I’m going to join the local tri club on their weekly rides this spring and I’m already nervous about it and it’s a few months away.

    Then again, I also remember be INCREDIBLY nervous the first time I went to a new running group and now I have a few different groups I run with in the city and it’s no big thing. So it’ll get better :)

  5. XLMIC says:

    Way to go! I actually think there is something ultra cool about not being totally appropriately geared out. Except for the fingerless glove thing (which is only not cool because your fingers froze!), sounds like you were fine. And also recommending Target and REI outlet for glasses should you decide Marc Jacobs oughtn’t ride.

  6. Ali says:

    Nice job with the ride, Page! Not that I doubted your awesomeness for a second, but this is huge! A long ride, AND you did it with a group! You should be psyched and proud.

    Never again be embarrassed to SCREAM that you’re training for Ironman Arizona. I’ll scream it for you, in face.


  7. Aron says:

    Soooooooooooo proud of you!!!! You did great AND you had fun!

  8. So glad that the first big ride went well for you, Page! All these posts re: the Ironman make me so excited to tackle it someday myself. Being a competitive swimmer my whole life and now training for my first marathon, I’d need to work on my cycling something serious. All in due time! You rock!

  9. Beth says:

    Nice job! Riding with other people will make you so much stronger and prepare you for IMAZ!

  10. Corey says:

    Congrats! I am glad it went well for you!! Looking toward to hearing about more riding and IM training.

  11. Pingback: » Ironman Arizona: Week 6 Twenty-Six and Then Some

  12. Rachel says:

    good for you! just wait, you’ll be a pro in no time ; )

  13. marlene says:

    Way to jump in with two (clipped in!) feet. Brave girl… next time you can be less terrified!! 😉

  14. Nicole says:

    This sound so much like my first group ride!!! Back in August I did my first ride over 40 miles and it was a with a group also sporting Ironman gear and I was similarly sporting designer sunglasses and running gear since I didn’t own a jersey. I was afraid to tell people I had signed up for an Ironman because I was SO inexperienced on the bike. I nearly cried during the first 20 minutes because I was getting left behind, but everyone was so nice and once I got more comfortable on the bike (ie not so scared to go around twisty curves that I slowed wayyy down), I caught up a bit. You will improve SO quickly on the bike – I promise!

  15. Kimra says:

    Oh jeeeez that picture of the road makes my stomach turn a little but I am so inspired to hear of your survival — and not just survival but rocking it despite your fears.

    Semi-related, have you read You Are An Ironman? I just finished it and it’s about IMAZ. Made me think of you!

  16. Paul Kinney says:


    I’m so proud of you! Here is a quote I heard years ago, but is so appropriate for you right now:

    “There will be days when you think you’ll never become and Ironman, but you’ll have a lifetime knowing that you are.”

    Never doubt your commitment. Keep up the great job with swimming, biking and running.

    Coach Paul

  17. Laura says:

    Way to confront and conquer your fears! I can totally see myself feeling the exact same way in a similiar situation.

  18. Naomi says:

    You are my hero! 4 months of my owning my new bike and I still have yet to take it out on the roads. I’m still too scared. You inspired me – I’ll have to suck it up and give it a try.

  19. Pingback: » Ironman Arizona: Week 8 Twenty-Six and Then Some

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